My fishing guide Patrick finally came out of the bush and sent me some pictures that were taken when I was up on The George in September. My own pictures were destroyed when I fell in the river and lost everything on my iPhone, second time that has happened to me! I carry a small notepad in my fishing vest so I can jot down random thoughts whenever they materialize. It also got wet from the dunking but thankfully I was still able to make out most of my thoughts that I had recorded. During that trip I was fixated on a phrase that I tend to overuse and that is “Having a reason to get out of bed every morning with a smile on your face.”
I remembered when I started out in the corporate world when I was still living at home. I had minimal personal responsibilities, no debt and was totally focused on my new job. It was an exciting time for me, I was learning a great deal, and meeting lots of new people. Do you remember that feeling? I was truly happy, it made me realize that back then it was all because my personal values were being met. I believe if you live aligned with your core values chances are good that you will be happy.
Your values are your driving force for what gets you up in the morning. Every day when you wake up, you want to be self-motivated and be able to return to your bed at night knowing that you gave 100% that day. Early in my career I was driven and if I made a list of my personal values back then it would look something like this in order of priority:
• Honesty – Integrity
• Respect of others
• Help people
• Financial Independence
• Family and Friends
• Health & Fitness
It’s always important to know the “WHY” and at that point in my life work and my job were all encompassing. Things changed when I got married and had kids, because of that my “WHY” changed to obtaining financial security for my family. That’s what got me out of bed all those years.
While I enjoyed spending time and having fun with my family and friends, out of necessity my focused moved to my career, chasing promotions, money and ultimately security for my family. I’m embarrassed to admit it but my career came first, it’s what provided for my family, but it came at a cost and both my family and my health suffered because of it.
I don’t think I was alone in this view of the world. During our working years we have to make choices we alter our values just trying to survive. If we are not living true to our values we find ways to dull the pain. If you experienced this you probably distracted yourself, by over indulge, in food, drink or some other activity. You may feel guilty because you know you are not being true to yourself, and it will cost us our health one of these days. It is also hard to be truly happy, we get angry with ourselves. We feel weak we know it’s wrong but you feel trapped. It’s not a fun way to live like that.
When we are forced to do something against our values we experience dis-harmony which leads to feelings of frustration, confusion, guilt, emptiness and unhappiness. A great example of this are those poor souls at Wells Fargo. Every time I think about what they went through I just shudder.
No matter where you are in your life, you need to stop doing things that are inconsistent with our values. In order to maximize our personal happiness, remember what is important to you, focus on what feels right and I guarantee you will have a happy Victory Lap. After a long career good or bad we deserve it don’t you think?
Financial Independence Is A Game Changer:
Once I achieved FI my career became less important to me. The kids were grown up and the mortgage was gone. I didn’t have to worry about losing my job anymore. It was at this point that I realized that my corporate job was way out of line with what was important to me and with what would make me happy. I think visiting my mother at the nursing home played a large part in my change in attitude and what I value today.
Why was I willing to waste time that I could never get back doing something that I didn’t enjoy anymore just for the sake of more money? It didn’t make a lot of sense to me.
To be continued: